Stephen McGuinness: Ryan McBride always wanted the best for the players

The PFAI boss spoke to Newstalk's SSE Airtricity League Podcast

Stephen McGuinness: Ryan McBride always wanted the best for the players

PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness with the Derry City squad last month. Picture by: PFAI/ Twitter

Ryan McBride's death is still causing shock waves in Irish football circles.

The Derry City captain died on Sunday, aged 27. Only hours before his death, he played in Derry City's 4-0 win at home to Drogheda United on Saturday afternoon in Buncrana.

Speaking to Newstalk's SSE Airtricity League Podcast, PFAI General Secretary Stephen McGuinness was still coming to terms with the tragedy.

"We'd only been up with the club three weeks ago", McGuinness revealed. "Ryan had been onto to us looking for qualifying for Europe, for getting through the rounds and for getting to the group stages, what it would be. He was working on the bonus for the players with the club and what it was going to be. That's what he was about. He was always about the players. As captain he took that responsibility on."

McBride's death is the first of an active player in McGuinness' time with The PFAI. He said the Association have been helped by IRUPA, who had to deal with a similar tragedy last year following the passing of Anthony Foley in Paris.

"It's not something that's happened very often in the game here. In my time, outside of Mark Farren, who was very sick for a long period of time, I cant remember something like this happening... It's not something we're used to dealing with."

Ryan McBride's (left) first dealings with Stephen McGuinness came when he played in the 2011 Dublin Super Cup. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

McGuinness and McBride dealt with each other on numerous occasions, but the former Dundalk defender felt the Derry captain was not originally receptive to his message.

"When I went up to meet the team, he used to sit in the dressing room in the corner, and he would catch my eye, because he would always look out the window... The next time I went back up, I pulled him aside and asked him 'do you know what I'm trying to do here?' He said; 'Stephen, I would play for this club for nothing, for zero. I have a passion to play for Derry, I live literally across the road from the ground. This is my club. I would play for nothing."

"In 2015, when he became captain, everything changed, because it was never about him. It was about the others. Ryan always wanted the best for the players. He wanted them to be successful... He took on that responsibility and it sat well with him."

McGuinness and The PFAI will liase with Derry City's player and any other players who need support following McBride's passing. He hopes the legacy left by the defender will inspire younger players to play for The Brandywell club.

"I would like to think he will inspire another generation of players in Derry to play for the club. It's vital for the game, that we have people to look up to. Unfortunately Ryan has passed away, but hopefully he has left a legacy there that other players will inspire to be him".